Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

31.1.13

Zombie shoppers ride escalators to nowhere.

"Where's the food hall?" I asked one of the waiters behind the counter. "It used to be right here." I was just inside the Little Bourke Street entrance one hot afternoon in January.

"There's no food hall, only this cafe," he replied, puzzled. He was putting a giant hedge of bean sprouts on one of those baguette things and they overflowed onto the large white plate. "But there's another cafe on the third floor," he added. I didn't want another cafe. I wanted the Myer Food Hall.

Another waiter interposed, helpfully. "Oh. You must be thinking of the David Jones food hall. It's over there," he added, pointing in the general direction of the Bourke Street mall, as if I were a lost Swedish tourist here for the Australian Open.

I wasn't thinking of the David Jones food hall at all, but it was nice to see a major department store sending customers straight to its competitor. Perhaps it was a sign of retailers, usually described in the press as 'embattled', helping each other in the face of online shopping, usually described in the press as an 'onslaught'.

Or perhaps it was just a sign that Myer had made a giant blunder in killing off a department for which it was once so well-known. One of my contacts at their Docklands head office tells me they still get customers looking for the food hall. Some wander down to a darkened Myer Bargain Basement that is no longer there, while other lost souls ride the escalators up to the fifth floor in search of furniture. That department moved to the QV centre in Swanston Street years ago. Goodness knows where men's suits are.

5 comments:

Dr. Alice said...

Last year at this time I was wandering through those stores. But I wasn't looking for the food hall; I was looking for a purse. I wound up getting a cheap knapsack at a luggage place.

Also, I went on a wine tour for Australia Day last year. It was lots of fun.

Melbourne Girl said...

The food hall was wonderful. Just like the bargain basement! Myer management, in all their so called wisdom, keep closing down the sections that people want and reduce staff in other departments then blame on-line shopping for their reduced sales.

I don't have a degree in retail or business management, but my advice to Bernie and his co-managers would be to stop whinging about on-line shopping and start employing and training staff in customer service!!

kitchen hand said...

Nothing better than a wine tour on Australia Day, Dr. A. Was it Yarra Valley?

Melbourne Girl, I heard a rumour that DJs and Myer could merge.

Dr. Alice said...

Yes, it was Yarra Valley and it was STUNNING. Just beautiful. The wine was good too. :)

kitchen hand said...

I fondly remember sipping TarraWarra chardonnay at sundown at one of the Yarra Valley wine estates oh, about twenty years ago at a Christmas party.